Palm drowns Foleo at birth

Let's work on core stability, first

"Foleo is the most exciting product I have ever worked on," Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, May 2007

Palm Foleo

Palm today killed the Foleo, a sub-notebook or "mobile companion", before shipping one unit to the public. In a blog entry on the corporate website, Palm boss Ed Colligan said the company must concentrate all efforts on "our next generation platform and the first smartphones that will bring this platform to market".

That doesn't mean Palm is scrapping products based on Microsoft Windows Mobile - not yet anyway - but it does mean that it's ditching Foleo, a Linux-based device, with its own development platform. The Foleo cancellation will shave "less than $10m" from Palm's earnings.

In May, Palm founder Jeff Hawkins trumpeted the Foleo as a new class of mobile computing. In other words it is almost laptop-sized and does internety- emaily- smartphoney -type things. Our report on Hawkins's Foleo musings, complete with now-evaporated spec, is here.

Colligan thanked "loyal developers" for supporting Foleo. "I know that they will understand that the right thing to do for the long run is to focus on one platform that will live for years, rather than invest energy in a one-off solution. We will make every effort to make sure we bring our developers forward to our next generation platform." Somewhat presumptuous, maybe, but Colligan appears to have good pitch: at time of writing, reader comments appended to his announcement on the Palm website are mostly in favour of the move.

So, it is to be one Palm "experience" built on smartphones, then definitely maybe extended to mobile companions. But when? As late as May, Palm said it would have ready for launch smartphones based on Palm OS II, as the new dev platform is called. Then in July, Colligan revealed that Palm would not have devices based on OS II until next year.

As for a mobile companion? Colligan today said the company will "do Foleo II based on our new platform", but he wouldn't hazard a guess on timing. As Foleo 1 will never see the light of day, it may be more sensible to call Foleo II, "Foleo". ®

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